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Claude Jutra, Quebec filmmaker

The Story

"When I have a project in mind it's because I have feelings for the characters.". So muses Claude Jutra in this lively conversation with historian Ramsay Cook. In this rare interview, Jutra talks about his style of filmmaking, his childhood and his interest in telling stories using local residents as he did on Mon Oncle Antoine. They also discuss his recent release, Kamouraska, starring Genevieve Bujold.

Medium: Television
Program: Impressions
Broadcast Date: July 7, 1974
Guest: Claude Jutra
Interviewer: Ramsay Cook
Duration: 25:21

Did You know?

• Claude Jutra was born in Montreal, in 1930. His family came from a long line of medical students, so he, too, chose to study medicine in university. But he was always interested in film as a teenager, making short films as an amateur while at school.

• Jutra finished medical school to please his parents, but went to work exclusively as a filmmaker. His first picture was Mouvement perpetual, released in 1949. By 1958, he completed his first feature film for the National Film Board of Canada. It was called Les Mains nettes.
• Jutra studied with Francois Truffaut and Jean Rouch, two of France's most important filmmakers. When he returned to Quebec he got involved in the so-called, "cinema direct" movement.
• In 1971, he directed Mon Oncle Antoine, considered one of the best Canadian movies ever produced. Set in rural Quebec, it's a coming-of-age story about a boy, his family and their small general store.
• When Kamouraska was released in 1973, the production company deemed it too long. Consequently a badly edited, two-hour version failed at the box office. But years later, Jutra had the chance to produce a directors-cut for pay television. His version clocks in at 173 minutes, more in keeping with his original vision.
• In the early 80s, Jutra's health began to deteriorate when he discovered he had Alzheimer's disease. Knowing his condition would worsen, Jutra took his own life in 1986, by drowning himself in the St. Lawrence River.



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